Okay, maybe the title is a bit misleading because, no matter how much we wish we could change time, we are all allotted just 24 hours in a day. When we’re super busy, this often means pushing aside some activities we’d really like to engage in to get a better handle on our work and home obligations.
That said, if you are able to master your time, it can feel like you’ve been given a magic wand that, when waived, can cause the hands on the clock to slow. Ultimately, this results in more time to relax and play.
If this sounds good to you, here are a few time management hacks that, when used regularly, can give you a life outside of work because all of your obligations will still be taken care of, with ample time left over.
Set a Timer
Have you ever hopped on social media for “just a second,” only to still be scrolling through your feed an hour or two later? If so, you have already witnessed where having no time boundaries can get you.
To avoid situations like this, set a timer anytime you’re engaging in an activity that is easy to get lost in. Better yet, if this activity is online, install an app that enforces these time boundaries for you. This will make it harder to simply turn the timer off and using your time in a way you said you wouldn’t.
Identify (and Use) Your Most Productive Time
Some people are more productive in the morning. Others, well, not so much. Pay attention to when you are the most productive and make it a point to use that time frame to handle the most important items on your to-do list.
Most people already know when this is, whether it’s morning, afternoon, or middle of the night. And though you can try to switch yours—for instance, getting up early in an effort to become a morning person when you’re usually not—this approach doesn’t always work. Sometimes it’s just better (and easier) to work with who you are naturally.
Leave Yourself Some Wiggle Room
Ever notice how time can feel like it is closing in on you due to unreasonable deadlines? One way to keep this from happening is to always give yourself ample room to get things done.
For example, if you think a project is going to take two days to complete, give yourself four. That way if something unexpected comes up—like a sick child or a more pressing work issue—you don’t have to work all hours of the day and night just to get it done.
Create a Daily Schedule
There’s something about sitting down and creating a schedule every morning that revs you up, increasing the likelihood that you’ll not only finish everything on your to-do list that day, but maybe one or two things that weren’t even on your radar.
The key to making this time management hack work is to begin by writing down all of the meetings and events you must attend. From there, fill in the top one to three things that you must complete before the end of the day. This will help keep you on track.
Take Regular Breaks
Though it may seem counterintuitive, taking regular breaks is actually good for you from a time standpoint because giving your brain a rest can help it come back even stronger once you’re ready to return to work.
Better yet, fill those breaks with physical activities and now you’ll not only gain the cognitive benefits of getting away for a minute, but your body will become rejuvenated too. That makes this time management hack two for the price of one!